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Minnesota child support guidelines

There are specific guidelines for determining child support in Minnesota. While divorcing spouses can agree on a child support amount, the court has the authority to determine the final child support obligation.

A Minnesota divorce attorney can help you estimate how much money you will receive or pay in child support, depending on your income, parenting time /custody orders, other child support orders, the number of children, child care costs, spousal maintenance orders, and other factors.

Minnesota child support guidelines went through a significant change in January 2007. Now, the guidelines are based on both parent's gross monthly income. Gross monthly income includes salary and wages, commissions, spousal maintenance (alimony), potential income, retirement benefits, workers' compensation and similar benefits. It does not include public assistance, overtime, child support, and a spouse's income.

In order to determine basic child support, a parent's gross monthly income is first reduced by the amount of spousal and/or child support that the parent already pays. There is also a deduction for two children that a parent supports from a different relationship. Then, each parent's income is combined and compared against a guidelines table to determine the "basic support amount."

This obligor's (the person who owes child support) percentage of the combined gross monthly income is then multiplied by the basic support amount. This final amount is the child support obligation. An obligor can also receive deductions in child support for parenting time (time he or she spends with the children) and for self support. Every parent must pay at least $50 a month for one to two children, $75 a month for three to four children and $100 a month for five or more children.

As you can see, while there is a formula for determining child support in Minnesota, every child support order will be different, depending on a number of factors. It can be helpful to discuss Minnesota child support laws with an experienced family law attorney.

Source: Minnesota Department of Human Services, "Child Support - Guidelines," Nov. 22, 2011.

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